Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 20
The district administration took possession of Dr BL Kapur Memorial Hospital and its premises near Old Sabzi Mandi, Ludhiana, on Saturday. The hospital was closed earlier this year as the government had refused to extend the lease of its land worth crores of rupees.
The main building and various other complexes on the hospital premises were sealed during the drive carried out by a team from the office of the Ludhiana East Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Machines were deployed for demolition of a residential building vacated by the occupants.
Meanwhile, around 40 families of former employees of the hospital still occupied the residential quarters on the hospital premises. Many of them refused to vacate the quarters as they demanded arrangements for their accommodation.
One of the occupants said: "We have been asked to vacate the quarters in next four days. The hospital management had not released our dues. A few occupants already moved the court. We requested the government to allow us to stay in these quarters due to the ongoing rainy season. We have no other accommodation in the city."
Surinder Kaur (52) said: "We have been staying here for the past 30 years. Around 40 families live here but no notice has been served on us to vacate the houses. We wanted from the government to provide us alternative accommodation as we have families too."
Prem (53) said, "I am the oldest employee of the hospital. The hospital management used to deduct rent of the quarter from my salary. It is injustice with us as we are being asked to vacate the quarters. I am jobless. Where will we go?"
A woman said, "My husband was a doctor at the hospital. However, the hospital management failed to release his dues to date. We have also moved to the consumer court to get justice."
On the other hand, Medical Superintendent of the hospital Harjit Singh Sudan denied the allegations. "We have handed over the land to the district administration. We have already cleared dues of the employees. Now, the government is supposed to get the land vacated from them."
Dr BL Kapur Memorial Hospital had been a landmark for the city. It was started by Dr Kapur in Lahore in 1930. After Partition, Dr Kapur started the Ludhiana Maternity Hospital.
Sub-divisional Magistrate, Ludhiana East, Amarjit Singh Bains said the land was given on lease to the hospital society in 1950 for 30 years. The lease had ended in 1980, but it was not extended by the government.
"As the land was not vacated after the end of the lease period, the land was under illegal possession of the hospital society. The Deputy Commissioner had rejected the hospital society's appeal for lease extension. The society had then moved the High Court, but they later surrendered and agreed to handover the land to the government. Now, we took over the possession of the land. People who had occupied the residential quarters have been asked to vacate the land."
No action on shops
Sources said there were over 200 shops on the land which was given on lease to the hospital society. However, no action has been taken to get them vacated. The officials who went to take possession of the land also refused to comment on the issue of shops. SDM Amarjit Singh Bains said they would take the necessary legal action to get the shops vacated.